GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 8 Florida State Seminoles (35-4) needed an extra inning to defeat No. 6/7 Florida (31-8) by a score of 3-2, in eight innings, on April 2 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The win snaps Florida’s 11-game win streak in the series and marks the first Florida State win over the Gators in Gainesville since 2003.
“I love how this family fights and competes and never gives up,” said head coach Lonni Alameda. “We didn’t get down after giving up an early run and knew that if we just continued to play Florida State softball, we would be successful.”
The Gators plated a run in the bottom of the first behind two singles and two walks by Lacey Waldrop. Waldrop got out of the bases-loaded jam by striking out Taylor Schwarz to end the inning after allowing only one run.
Florida State would even the score in the third as Briana Hamilton hit a home run for the third consecutive game with a solo shot to right center. Hamilton’s 26th career home run moved her into a tie with Yuruby Alicart for fourth on FSU’s all-time home run list.
Maddie O’Brien gave FSU a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a leadoff solo home run to left center. It was her 14th home run of the season which tied Courtney Senas (2013) and Yuruby Alicart (2007) for the FSU single season record.
Florida tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth after Stephanie Tofft led off being hit by a pitch. She moved to second on a groundout and came into score on an Aubree Munro grounder that ricocheted off Hamilton’s glove at third and directly into Tofft and then into foul ground behind third. Tofft easily came into score on a play that was ruled a double for Munro.
Delanie Gourley would come in to pitch for UF starter Lauren Haeger in the fifth inning and pitched 2.0 of scoreless relief, recording four strikeouts. Haeger tossed 4.0 innings and allowed four hits, including two solo home runs, zero walks and one strikeout in a no decision.
Hannah Rogers entered the circle for Florida in the seventh and pitched a perfect inning to give UF a chance to win it in the bottom of the frame. Waldrop pitched around a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh and O’Brien made an amazing catch with two outs on a bloop to shallow center to send the game to extra innings.
Florida State took the lead in the top of the eighth behind a leadoff walk by Tiffani Brown and a single from Senas that got away from the second baseman and allowed Brown to head to third with nobody out. O’Brien, the NCAA leader in RBI, added her 60th of the season on a fielder’s choice to first to score Brown and give FSU a 3-2 lead.
Waldrop came back out and pitched a perfect eighth inning to secure the victory. The junior pitcher tied a career high with 8.0 innings pitched, allowing six hits, two runs and four walks while striking out nine Gator batters. Waldrop improved to an NCAA-best 23-2 and it marked only the second time in 26 appearances this season that she gave up more than one earned run.
“These are the kinds of games you love to play if you want to be an elite program,” added Alameda. “Taking on a quality team, on the road and with an intense crowd atmosphere. It was a great win but still just a small step to where we know we can go as a team. I’m really proud of them.”
Florida State returns home to Tallahassee for an ACC series against Maryland on April 5 and 6. Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will be our Paint it Pink games sponsored by Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.
Sunday will have a single game with first pitch scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Following Sunday’s game, there will be a free clinic open to all members of the FSU Kid’s Club as well as any child in 8th grade or lower.
Follow Florida State softball on Twitter (@FSU_Softball) and Instagram (fsusoftball), and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUsoftball) to keep with everything about Seminole softball throughout the 2014 season.